On Monday, it was announced that Mizzou (3-3) will have yet another change to their schedule. Instead of facing Arkansas in the Battle Line Rivalry, the Tigers will host Vanderbilt (0-7) in Columbia at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.

Mizzou is coming off a 17-10 win on the road at South Carolina. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. The Tigers were expected to score more than 17 points and not get shut out in the 2nd half. Credit Mizzou assistant David Gibbs, who replaced defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, absent because of COVID-19 contact tracing. Mizzou’s defense won the game by getting a stop when the Gamecocks had an opportunity to tie or win the game on their final drive.

As for Vandy, the Commodores are struggling and starting a true freshman quarterback in Ken Seals, who has 10 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions. They’re coming off a 38-17 loss to No. 6 Florida.

We’ll see what the latest round of tests brings later this week, which will help us determine who will and won’t be available for this game. With that being said, here are 5 expectations for the Tigers’ game with Vandy.

Expect a Mizzou win, and who cares if it isn’t pretty

Mizzou needs to win this game. Mizzou should win this game. The Tigers are the better team with the better defense, and Vandy hasn’t won yet.

But as we’ve seen with this Mizzou team before — actually, just last week — don’t expect it to be pretty.

This game is similar to the South Carolina contest in that Mizzou was expected to beat the Gamecocks and throw all over the yard. Things looked good in the 1st half as the Tigers took a 17-0 lead into halftime, but they fell flat on their face in the 2nd half and were outscored 10-0. I think Mizzou fans expected more than 203 passing yards from Connor Bazelak, because the Gamecocks were without 3 starters in the secondary.

But, as the intro stated: a win is a win, even if it’s ugly. Expect Saturday to be another victory, Mizzou’s 2nd straight and 4th in the past 5 games.

Expect Mizzou’s offense to lean on Bazelak’s arm

Mizzou’s rushing attack has been pretty bad lately, hasn’t it? Just 40 yards against Florida and 98 against South Carolina. That production has got to be eating at the soul of head coach Eli Drinkwitz, who probably wants balance on offense. All coaches usually say they do, unless their name is Mike Leach.

But Vandy’s defense has given up 19 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the most in the SEC. So one would think Mizzou might try to pick on the Commodores’ defensive backs, right?

Of course, it’d be good to get Larry Rountree going again. But considering the situation in front of him, that might be hard to do.

Rountree needs blocking, but the offensive line is in bad shape with injured starters and guys being shuffled around. Dylan Spencer, a freshman O-lineman who started against Florida, is transferring. Mizzou had just 8 scholarship O-linemen against South Carolina and has been cross-training them to play on the D-line. The unit that will play on Saturday might be more suited to pass blocking.

Bazelak didn’t have his best game last week and made some pretty poor throws against the Gamecocks, who won’t fool anyone as having a good defense. But he’ll be at home and playing against a defense that ranks 12th in the SEC defending the pass, allowing 280 yards per game.

This can be another LSU-type game from the redshirt freshman. Will he take advantage?

Expect Tauskie Dove to get more targets

We just talked about Mizzou needing to air it out against Vandy. So whom should Bazelak throw to?

The easy answer is Keke Chism, who played the most snaps at wideout against South Carolina and caught 6 passes for 57 yards — and 3 of those catches were for 1st downs. It was good stuff from him.

But expect Dove, the redshirt sophomore from Texas, to get more targets. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Drinkwitz wanted Bazelak to take shots when he saw 1-on-1 coverage down the field against South Carolina. After all, the Tigers knew they were playing against the Gamecocks’ backup corners.

Single coverage is exactly what Dove got on his 20-yard touchdown catch, and he showed off his athleticism while hauling it in, too.

Dove is playing more and more, while Damon Hazelton is playing less and less. Expect that trend to continue.

Expect Martez Manuel to blitz more

Manuel has some nasty in him, and it was fun to watch against South Carolina. The sophomore got 2 sacks — both were on designed blitzes, he wasn’t freelancing — and his 2nd was after locking arms with Gamecocks fullback Adam Prentice and walking him back into a flushed Collin Hill. It was impressive.

Mizzou’s pass rush hasn’t gotten home this season. The Tigers have only 10 sacks, which is tied for 12th in the SEC. It didn’t help that Trajan Jeffcoat was out last week. But Manuel brought a certain fire and emotion to the defense when his number was called on a blitz.

Manuel is an aggressive defender and gets after the quarterback. With depth issues on the D-line, that’s a good thing to have. I’m sure Manuel is licking his chops at the opportunity to put some hits on Seals this Saturday. Vandy’s O-line has been okay at protecting him this season, though, allowing 13 sacks, which is tied for 5th-best in the SEC.

Expect an interception from Ennis Rakestraw

The true freshman is bound to haul one in this season.

Rakestraw leads the defense in pass breakups with 5, but he hasn’t picked one off yet. That might change on Saturday, as Seals throws it to the opponent at times.

Rakestraw and fellow corner Jarvis Ware would be smart to not take the Commodores’ quarterback lightly, though. He’s a young guy learning on the fly, but he has had good moments. Against Florida last week, Seals went 22-of-34 for 319 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He broke Vandy’s freshman passing record in that game, supplanting John Gromos and Jay Cutler, and is sitting at 1,486 yards.

Rakestraw and Ware will be covering some large receivers on Saturday, too. Amir Abdur-Rahman (23 catches, 320 yards, 1 touchdown) is 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, while Chris Pierce Jr. (20, 301, 5) is 6-4, 231. Rakestraw, at 6 feet, has the length to bother those 2.